Bishop, Isabel (1902–1988) By Palm, Regina
Born in Cincinnati, Isabel Bishop spent her childhood in Detroit, where she attended life-drawing classes at the John P. Wicker School of Fine Arts. In 1918, Bishop enrolled in the New York School of Applied Design for Women to study illustration, but transferred to the Art Students League in 1920. Bishop is associated with the realist painters of the Fourteenth Street School. She is best known for her depictions of young female office workers of the 1930s and 1940s, whom she observed as they navigated their way through Union Square (the location of Bishop’s first studio). Bishop, like other Fourteenth Street artists, sought to capture contemporary urban life. Her depictions of working women are notable for their time, as she did not glamorize them or transform them into sexualized stereotypes, but rather strove to portray these young, modern women as they traversed the city in daily life. Bishop was granted her first one-woman show in 1933 at the Midtown Galleries and in 1941 was elected to the National Academy of Design.